Article: Introducing Hugh Crabtree, Pork Sector Council Member

Monday, 25 July 2022

Hugh Crabtree is well known and respected in the UK pig industry and has more than 40 years of commercial experience in supplying technology to farmers. He joined the Pork Council in May 2022.

Below, we share Hugh’s background, his thoughts on some of the challenges facing the sector and why he wanted to join AHDB’s Pork Council.

Hugh’s background

Having gained a first-class honours degree at Reading University, Hugh continued with postgraduate research into thermal performance in pig buildings. He was a founder member of Farmex Ltd. in 1980, and the company has gone on to become the market leader in ventilation systems for pig production in the UK.

Three-time winner of the New Equipment Award at the British Pig & Poultry Fair, Farmex is now at the forefront of real-time production monitoring in the UK and the USA.

Hugh has led three UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)-funded collaborative R&D projects and is active in the field of precision livestock farming and the application of information and communication technology (ICT) in agriculture. He is now the sole owner of Farmex Ltd. and a co-owner/director of Dicam Technology Ltd.

Additionally, Hugh is a Fellow of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers and was recently awarded a Lifetime Fellowship of the National Pig Association (NPA).

Joining the Pork Council

“I do quite a bit of work for and with AHDB one way or another and, given the major transition the organisation is going through, I thought it might be interesting to be part of the changes and offer an industry lifer's perspective in helping shape the new, more responsive levy body. I’m also looking forward to working closely with AHDB’s staff and the other council members.

“When I joined the Pork Council, I was very surprised to learn we are still constrained by State Aid regulations post Brexit, or as it’s now referred to – the Subsidy Control regime. This means that we are still not free to use public money to distort competition and trade on the home market or internationally.

"With the reduction in the number of sectors paying a levy, and a decline in the national pig herd, resources will have to be very well managed.”

Challenges facing the pork sector

“I believe one of the biggest challenges facing the pork sector at the moment is making the pork supply chain sustainable by being equitable with respect to returns.

“As a member of the council, I hope to provide a voice that can be direct, honest and robust, without the fear of a direct negative impact on my business.”

AHDB’s sector councils

AHDB’s sector councils are the voice of levy payers within AHDB. The councils are responsible for proposing the work that needs to be done on behalf of levy payers and making funding decisions about what we deliver.

Each council member must be ratified by levy payers and will serve for a term of three years, with a maximum of two terms.

Meet the other members of the Pork Council

Image of staff member Hugh Crabtree

Hugh Crabtree

Pork Sector Council Member (Independent)

See full bio